Accardi v. Shaughnessy,
347 U.S. 260 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Accardi v. Shaughnessy, 347 U.S. 260 (1954)

Accardi v. Shaughnessy

No. 366

Argued February 2, 1954

Decided March 15, 1954

347 U.S. 260


By a habeas corpus proceeding in a federal district court, petitioner challenged the validity of the denial of his application for suspension of deportation under the provisions of § 19(c) of the Immigration Act of 1917. Admittedly deportable, petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the denial of his application by the Board of Immigration Appeals was prejudged through the issuance by the Attorney General in 1952, prior to the Board's decision, of a confidential list of "unsavory characters" including petitioner's name, which made it impossible for petitioner "to secure fair consideration of his case." Regulations promulgated by the Attorney General and having the force and effect of law delegated the Attorney General's discretionary power under § 19(c) in such cases to the Board and required the Board to exercise its own discretion when considering appeals.

Held: petitioner is entitled to an opportunity in the district court to prove the allegation, and, if he does prove it, he should receive a new hearing before the Board without the burden of previous proscription by the list. Pp. 347 U. S. 261-268.

(a) As long as the Attorney General's administrative regulation conferring "discretion" on the Board remains operative, the Attorney General denies himself the right to sidestep the Board or dictate its decision in any manner. Pp. 347 U. S. 265-267.

(b) The allegations of the habeas corpus petition in this case were sufficient to charge the Attorney General with dictating the Board's decision. Pp. 347 U. S. 267-268.

(c) This Court is not here reviewing and reversing the manner in which discretion was exercised by the Board, but rather regards as error the Board's alleged failure to exercise its own discretion, contrary to existing valid regulations. P. 347 U. S. 268.

(d) Petitioner's application for suspension of deportation having been made in 1948, this proceeding is governed by § 19(c) of the 1917 Act, rather than by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. P. 261, n 1.

Page 347 U. S. 261

(e) The doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable to habeas corpus proceedings. P. 263, n 4.

206 F.2d 897, reversed.

Petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus was denied by the District Court. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 206 F.2d 897. This Court granted certiorari. 346 U.S. 884. Reversed, p. 347 U. S. 268.

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